Foxtel and Mindshare create innovative 'wicket warning' AI platform

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 19 February 2019

Foxtel has revealed its latest collaboration with Mindshare and Google, as part of the summer of cricket campaign, to create an automated cricket AI that can predict the fall of wickets.

Named 'Monty', the custom machine learning model has been designed to spot when and how wickets will fall in live games, in real time.

The machine learning model works by recognising patterns in player behaviour based on past form and the live conditions of the pitch.

As part of developing the program, 'Monty' has watched every single ball bowled by the Australian National Men’s team in the past 18 months, more than 500,000 times, and has built the patterns into a bespoke ‘Wicket Warning’ system for Foxtel viewers and cricket fans.

Originally designed as a marketing tool for Foxtel, the platform quickly evolved into a fan engagement platform, as fans can now be alerted to when they should tune into Fox Cricket to see the lead up to a potential wicket.

When the model is confident a wicket will fall, it autonomously deploys new creative and adapts bidding across dynamic display, pre-roll and digital outdoor.

The model was integrated into the Fox Sports app for the Boxing Day Test, with Foxtel managing a double-digit increase in weekly sales growth in the week that followed.

"Monty’s proof that a new era of analytics is here and we’ve ensured Foxtel and Fox Sports are leading the way," Mindshare head of innovation Jack Smyth said.

"Monty’s learning more with every single ball and working with Foxtel and Fox Sports we’re going to build on our first mover advantage."

The model has been continuously learning across the summer of cricket and has predicted close to 498 wickets across international cricket games, with Foxtel touting "unprecedented fan cut-through" and "cost-effective conversions".

“Monty’s exceeded all expectations and earned his spot on the team by delivering results every match. This media innovation is a perfect demonstration of how creativity and data can combine to create a totally new experience for fans," Foxtel senior marketing manager Christopher Pocock said.

With one code under his belt, the Mindshare and Foxtel teams are now looking towards the winter season for the evolution of the campaign, with access to further codes including Rugby League and Australian Rules Football.

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